ISL: Changes expected as Mumbai City FC face Kerala Blasters
Mumbai City FC are expected to ring in the changes as they seek to open their account against Kerala Blasters in a second round game of Hero Indian Super League (ISL).
Kochi: Mumbai City FC are expected to ring in the changes as they seek to open their account against Kerala Blasters in a second round game of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) here on Saturday.
Mumbai City FC suffered a reverse at the hands of rivals FC Pune City in the opener. The 1-3 loss against Pune came as a big setback but Nicolas Anelka's side has enough quality to bounce back.
Anelka, now the marquee-player-cum-manager, restricted himself to a late appearance and could not alter Mumbai's fortunes in the short time that he spent on the field. But the former France striker can possibly start the next tie after recovering from a flu.
Injured midfielder Brandon Fernandes should also be available while it remains to be seen if Anelka prefers to continue with young goalkeeper Albino Gomes or prefers to opt for the slightly more experienced Debjit Majumder, who won the I-League with Mohun Bagan last season.
Despite scoring just a goal in the opener, Mumbai City assistant coach Oscar Bruzon said he was not worried about the goals. His immediate concern was how the defence leaked in three goals.
"We lost not because of our attack but because of our defence. But this is a team game and our attackers didn't score more in the first half with the chances that we had. Our defenders couldn't block Pune," said Bruzon.
Kerala Blasters are also an attacking side and Mumbai City FC will have a tough time tackling their rivals, and the vociferous crowd. The opening game saw a crowd of 60,000 at the Nehru stadium and the second match will have similar attendance.
The only team to have opted to prepare at home for the second season of ISL, Kerala Blasters didn't seem to lack anything. If at all, they were sharper and more incisive than many others with players like former Arsenal striker Sanchez Watt, Barcelona academy product Josue Prieto -- who scored with a stunning volley -- Christopher Dagnall, goalkeeper Stephen Bywater and Bruno Perone all in imperious form.
"We are delighted with the win but we can play a lot better. The players will also admit that. We could have scored a lot more goals. We have to work on that," said Kerala Blasters and former England U-21 manager Peter Taylor.